Google is Sunsetting UA, Get Started with Google Analytics 4 Today
Marketers worldwide have known Google’s Universal Analytics would eventually disappear and be replaced with GA4 Analytics, we didn’t know the exact date. Many of us set up GA4 accounts and then forgot about it. We hadn’t actually started to prepare for the future with Google Analytics 4.
Google is Sunsetting UA, Time to Switch to GA4
Now is the time to get ready. Google has officially announced that Universal Analytics Will Officially Stop Collecting Data in 2023. To be exact, all standard Universal Analytics properties will stop processing new hits on July 1, 2023. “Universal Analytics 360 properties will receive an additional three months of new hit processing, ending on October 1, 2023,” said Google.
The new Google Analytics 4 will change the way businesses think about marketing to their customers online. If you haven’t started playing around with Google Analytics 4 yet, now is the time. The next generation of Google Analytics still feels limited compared to the original version of Universal Analytics, but GA4 is the future. Here’s how to get started:
Start Collecting Data Today
When you create a new Google Analytics 4 property, you’ll notice that it’s empty of data. The historical data you have in Universal Analytics, the original analytics you already know, won’t be transferred to the new property.
To retain that historical perspective of what’s happening on your website, start collecting new data as soon as possible. The new setup also restructures that data into the life cycle of your website visitors. Now businesses can better focus on improving their relationship with their customers.
Simplify Your Tracking Strategy
When it comes to tracking, the new version of Analytics does a lot of the heavy lifting for you. Fear no more if you ever found your head spinning while adding a category, actions, or labels to custom conversion tracking. Everything is now considered an event, and the “Enhanced Measurement” automatically creates the most common event tracking for you.
The most exciting feature of the new GA4 tool is the ability to create insights and predictions, built on artificial intelligence, about your website or your audience. Google is betting the use of predictive AI can fill in the gaps in the data left by the removal of browser cookies.
Lean on Predictive AI Intelligence
One shining feature of the new Google Analytics 4 properties is their use of AI learning to create predictive audiences to help your business grow. For example, there is now the ability to create Purchase Probability audiences, users likely to purchase within the next seven days and Churn Probability audiences, users most likely to churn within the next seven days.
This new ability to create audiences based on customer behavior enables your team to look ahead and make careful predictions that can influence your campaign strategy. It also gives you a handy insights tool to provide easy-to-read summaries of your data based on your campaigns. Integrate your Google Ads campaigns, for example, and use Analytics insights to inform you on the next steps to improve the effective use of your budget or ad targeting.
Manipulate Your Website, Not Your Audience
Google’s recent release of FLoC, which stands for Federated Learning of Cohorts, changes the way advertisers target their customers. Instead of stalking individual users around the internet, Google will sort crowds of users into groups of similar behavior, interests, or intent.
Update: As of 2022, Google has abandoned their strategy of FLoC. They’ve recently switched to their Topics API to replace tracking cookies instead, which matches advertisers to audiences based on interest-based advertising. See an introduction to the Topics API from Google down below.
As the internet shifts to protect individual data privacy, marketers are forced to improve their websites, messaging, or even products and services rather than improving their targeting. This is a good thing. Audiences should expect to see better websites focused on helping them, and businesses should be rewarded for that increase in trust online.
Where Universal Analytics built its foundational data on cookies and IP addresses, Google Analytics works across platforms using its event-based data modeling. “Google Analytics 4 will also no longer store IP addresses,” said Google. “Google Analytics 4 is designed with privacy at its core to provide a better experience for both our customers and their users.”
Get Comfortable With The Future of Analytics
Any new advancements or upgrades to Google’s Analytics tool will happen on GA4 properties. To be exact, Universal Analytics is slated to get phased out on July 1, 2023; there will be no further investments into the tool.
Start tracking data (again, set that up today) so that by the time Google shuts down Universal Analytics, you’ll be comfortable with the new perspective of analyzing cohorts of customers throughout their life cycle with your business. Then, you can properly let the power of predictive AI insights help you grow traffic as you grow your business.